Contribution is giving – of yourself, your time, your attention, your advice, your assistance, your money or a tangible gift. This kind of giving comes about because we care for, or care about, the organisation, or the person or people we are helping in some way. Sometimes it is because we have a commitment to a particular cause or an ideal we identify with. In its purest form it is done without thought of reciprocity or reward.
Often our contribution is valuable either in what it is worth in monetary terms, or in the effect it has on making life better for the recipient. It also often gives benefit to the person who contributes, as they feel a part of something worthwhile or meaningful, and reinforces a sense that they belong to something bigger than themselves. Sometimes we contribute to the welfare of others just because we want to improve their life, even in a small way, or because we want to make a difference on a much larger scale. On occasion there is a considerable cost to the person who contributes in time, money, energy, effort, safety or stepping outside our own comfort zone.
Here in New Zealand we have had examples of a whole range of people making a contribution to assist the people of Christchurch affected by earthquakes and aftershocks. Among others, some ongoing contributions have been in the form of large and small financial donations; donation of food, water, clothing and accommodation; sharing of expertise such as search and rescue, first aid or counselling; offering to assist in physical ways such as shovelling away dirt deposited by liquefaction; and expressions of emotional support and caring. Some people are fixing broken pipes and others are knitting booties and baby bonnets. All of them are helping to rebuild hope.